As you prepare to launch your company (or while your business is in its early stages), it’s important to build on strategic foundational elements like your business plan, vision and goals with your company’s purpose, structure and measurement.
These three elements are more nuanced than, say, your company’s three-year vision, but they’re just as important. Organizations thrive when they’re clear about three things:
With clarity, everyone can pull together for a common cause. Without clarity there is wasted effort, even chaos.
In his analysis of Ewing Kauffman’s company, Marion Laboratories, Gerald W. Holder attributed the organization’s success to an entrepreneurial leadership team that focused significant energy on creating clarity throughout the work force.
The leaders of Marion Labs followed three imperatives: clarity of purpose, structure, and measurement.
People need to know why your organization exists. They want a reason to give their enthusiastic support. They want to be part of an organization that is the first or best at something, does what no other organization has ever done, helps people solve problems, or helps people lead better, safer, healthier or more productive lives.
A word of caution as you’re formulating your purpose? Don’t expect anyone else to get excited about “making you rich.” As one entrepreneur put it, “I want my people to get rich because I have set up a system whereby if they get rich, so do I.”
What you can do: Have a clear sense of what you want your company to stand for and accomplish. Communicate your vision regularly. Ensure that goals and decisions are consistent with this vision. Remind your management team and employees that decisions and actions need to be consistent with the overarching vision and purpose.
People need to know their roles and responsibilities, as well as those of others in the organization. This knowledge and confidence allows them to concentrate on their own job and give it their full energy while recognizing the importance of working as a team and understanding how their individual contributions fit into the larger picture of the company’s operational success.
What you can do: Ensure that job roles support your company’s direction. Job descriptions should include goals and performance objectives aligned with the vision of the company.
In a rapidly growing venture, the opportunities for promotion are likely to be great. For example, a sales representative may become a manager in a short time. Discuss the organization’s structure and possibility for advancement opportunities with potential employees. Some may accept a low-paying position at first if they will be given more responsibility and compensation in the near future.
Knowing how to measure your business results is essential. Explain to people within your organization what’s being measured, how it’s measured, and why it’s measured. This clarity lets them know where to focus their effort and have a greater understanding of what success actually looks like.
What you can do: Develop clear sets of performance measurements for each area of your company and for each individual. Acknowledge and reward individuals for meeting those goals.